Burnout is a term that we often hear associated with the healthcare industry now more than ever, thanks due to the pandemic. Long hours, staffing shortages, and the emotional stress of caring for severely ill patients have lead to increased feelings of burnout, especially among nurses.
According to a 2022 study, 44% of nurses cited burnout and high-stress as a factor in reconsidering their jobs. Some common symptoms of burnout include extreme fatigue, lack of compassion towards patients, anxiety, depression, and a host of other illnesses. This has a direct effect on the quality of care that patients receive.
Here are a few things that the healthcare industry can do to help combat burnout:
1. Enforce Better Nurse to Patient Ratios
Currently, there is no national mandate on nurse staffing ratios. The recommended ratio is 1 to 4; however, it does vary from state to state. For example, according to Trusted Nurses Staffing, an average ratio in New York is 1 to 6, while the average in California is 1 to 3.6. In recent times, nurses have been reported to be caring for up to ten patients in some facilities. This is extremely dangerous and increases the chances of mistakes occurring as well as lower patient satisfaction rates.
2. Hire More Nurses
Due to pandemic burnout, mandated vaccination requirements, and personal decisions, there has been a severe shortage of nurses. Hiring more nurses would be a benefit to the strained healthcare system and the patients who need care.
3. Encourage Dialogue
It is common for nurses who experience burnout to feel unheard and unappreciated. If these concerns cannot be expressed with a supervisor, seek out guidance from a union, support group, or another trusted organization.
4. Seek out a Wellness Program
As the saying goes, you can’t care for anyone if you can’t care for yourself! Often the needs of nurses and caregivers are placed on the back burner. If you are a caregiver, don’t forget to attend your own doctor’s appointments. When you have time off, try your best to rest. Also, try and do something that adds to your self care routine.
What tips would you suggest for helping nurses combat burnout? Leave a comment!